Mass shooting in downtown Austin: 12 injured, 1 deceased, 1 in critical condition

Sheryl Lawrence

Content warning: This article contains graphic descriptions of gun violence and death.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared as part of the June 14 flipbook.

One person died and 13 people were injured after a mass shooting on 6th Street around 1:30 Saturday morning.

The Austin Police Department has taken two suspects, one of whom is a juvenile, into custody. The identity of the juvenile and the charges they face have not been released. The other suspect, a 17-year-old, will be charged and tried as an adult for aggravated assault, according to an APD news release

APD is still considering which additional charges both individuals may face, which could include murder, attempted murder or aggravated assault, according to the Austin-American Statesman. As the investigation continues, APD is trying to determine if one or both of the suspects in custody fired a gun.

One of the critically injured victims, Douglas John Kantor, was pronounced dead due to injuries Sunday at 12:01 p.m., according to a news release from APD. The other individual remains in critical condition at the time of publication. Twelve victims remain in stable condition.

“He was shot through the abdomen just below the rib cage, straight through,” Kantor’s brother Nick Kantor told KXAN. “He suffered from the time of the injury until (the) time of death. It was the most gruesome thing I could think to wish on someone. It’s painful to discuss, but I think the public deserves to know what my brother suffered.”

Joseph Chacon, Austin Police Department’s interim chief, said emergency services were notified about gunshot sounds in the area at 400 block of East 6th Street on Saturday at 1:24 a.m. APD has not released possible motives.

The night after the mass shooting, there were three more unrelated shootings in the Austin area, according to KXAN. Some APD officials, including Chacon, cited the budget cuts made by Austin City Council last August and changes in cadet classes as the reason for a constrained police force. 

Chas Moore, executive director for the Austin Justice Coalition, said 6th Street is one of the most heavily policed areas in Austin and hiring more police officers would not prevent crime.

“The reason all those officers didn’t deter or capture the shooter wasn’t because there weren’t plenty of them on the scene, it’s because police presence can’t prevent a determined person with a gun from causing harm,” Moore said in an email to the Austin Justice Coalition email subscribers.

Chacon said officers had their body cameras on and the footage will be reviewed as the incident is investigated further, along with other security cameras in the area.

Chacon said APD believes “almost all” of the victims were innocent bystanders and they do not believe the shooting has a connection to the Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally. Chacon said it appears to be an “isolated incident between two parties.”

According to the New York Times, violent crime rates are increasing nationally as businesses start to reopen. 

House Bill 1927 eliminates the requirement for Texans to obtain a license to carry a handgun, effective Sept. 1. There is no requirement to obtain a license to be able to carry a rifle openly in Texas.